Skip to content

What Gets You Tossed by Obama, the Julia Pierson Edition

Pierson resigned a day after testifying in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Pierson resigned a day after testifying in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House had “confidence” in Julia Pierson. Just like it had “confidence” in Eric Shinseki. And Kathleen Sebelius. The other thing they’ve got in common? They’re all history.  

It’s a long pattern — by no means exclusive to President Barack Obama’s White House — but it’s clear that having the press secretary express “confidence” from the podium amid a scandal is not a particularly good indicator of longevity for the subject in question.  

After a fairly stable first term for the president’s team, the past year has seen a stream of officials on their way out under fire, with Secret Service Director Julia Pierson the latest casualty in the wake of a fence-jumper getting deep inside the White House before being tackled by an off-duty officer.  

Here’s a handy list of missteps that will have the president inclined to accept your resignation: * Reports of veterans dying waiting for care amid epic bureaucratic bungling. Shinseki at least got a walk on the South Lawn with the president .  

* Screwing up the launch of the president’s signature legislative accomplishment. Sebelius stayed on for months after the debacle — long enough to see the law get back on track. And she got a nice sendoff from the president. But she was out nonetheless .  

* Failing to protect the president or his family. Pierson merely got a phone call from the president thanking her for her 30-year career. Pierson replaced an earlier director, Mark Sullivan, who stepped down in 2013 in the aftermath of a hooker scandal involving agents in Colombia.  

Calls for Pierson’s resignation were mounting — not just over the reports of Secret Service lapses — but over a drip-drip-drip of new revelations the agency initially did not disclose to either the public or the White House.  

One of the final straws appears to be not informing the White House that a man with a criminal record and a gun rode an elevator with the president until shortly before the incident was reported by the Washington Examiner and Washington Post.  


Related stories:

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

White House Jumper Pleads Not Guilty

Secret Service Takes Beating in Rare Recess Hearing

Omar Gonzalez Charged in White House Breach

D.C. to White House: Don’t Fence Us Out

Congress Weighs in on White House Breach

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Recent Stories

Eight questions for elections in five states on Tuesday

Paul Pelosi attacker sentenced to 30 years in prison

House Over-slight Committee — Congressional Hits and Misses

Biden kicks off outreach to Black voters as protest threat looms at Morehouse

Editor’s Note: Stock market no panacea for Biden, Democrats

Photos of the week ending May 17, 2024